So Much For the Lightshow

Mid-last year, I finally launched Misery Inspires, which is without a doubt my earliest (serious) web project. I started working on it pre-VDU, mid-2016 or so. Long before Neocities, long before any of the mess I’d find myself in, I had a rather unwieldy, bolted-together set of pages about Silversun Pickups, my then-new favorite band, and I wondered what the hell I was gonna do with it.

Fittingly, much like today’s absolute gem of a find, I couldn’t release it. I’m not kidding when I said it was unwieldy. I wanted each song to have its own page. The layout was garbage. It’s not that I didn’t know what I was doing (although I was rusty with my HTML for sure), but that my aim was way too high.

Ever since we knew each other, Caby’s encouraged me to finish it up, and she finally got through to me last summer. I kept it to a precious few pages and focused more on the written content and the photos. As a result, it finally made it out the door in an actually manageable state, and aside from being behind on updating it (interview archive sometime), I’m still rather proud of it.

While I was putting together the final Misery Inspires site, I had found a rip of something I was both curious about for years and something that just wasn’t circulating, the band’s first homemade demo, cobbled together from tracks recorded at The Ship between 2001 and 2003 or so and sold as the band played Sunset Junction the latter year. This thing was a fucking holy grail as far as I was concerned, yet not even cover art turned up. And I found it casually Googling for the thing after four years of searching.

The cover of the Sunset Junction demos
The cover of the Sunset Junction demos. Yeah, they were really keen on the period after their band name for a long time.

While the rip wasn’t in the best condition, being very audibly lossy (though I have reason to suspect the band was burning MP3s to CD-R, so it might not be the ripper’s fault), it was still three very early, unsurfaced renditions of Carnavas favorites, plus an early mix of maybe my all-time favorite Pickups song, “The Fuzz”. People who think the Pickups were kinda shoegazey on their albums haven’t heard shit until they’ve heard this EP.

However, something was still missing. The rip was missing any sort of bonus track, which according to the ancient Silversun Pickups fan Blogspot (which I practically used as a primary source), some copies of the Sunset Junction demo had. In a post, the guy behind it made reference to what was clearly an early “Little Lover’s So Polite”, which is a top five favorite from them for me.

My friend bought another copy of the Sunset Junction demos CD, and this one DID have a bonus track. It’s at track 23, and it’s the song that goes “So much for the lightshow…” It’s another great song. The rumor I heard is that each demo CD has a different bonus track at the end, for a total of like 15 additional songs or something. I am tempted to buy the whole stack of demo CDs next time I see them to get all the songs.

To add to the intrigue, the Pickups did videos for the release of The Singles Collection discussing each song, and of course, “Little Lover’s” happens to be one of those videos. The story goes that the song was two minutes from being outright axed from Carnavas for being too loose to work on the album. “B-side! B-side!” Brian cries. At the last minute, the band stripped it down, totally changing the arrangement, practically building an entirely new song out of the pieces. This became the “Little Lover’s” we know today.

Once again though, it’s not as if the trail had gone cold about the early version of the track–there wasn’t a trail in the first place. The thing was seemingly lost to the attic of some old head in Echo Park.

And that’s where this gets interesting.

So be me. Minding my own business, with my quaint little Pickups fansite getting the occasional click from a Google search. I check my email before heading off one night and find this waiting for me:

Hi, big SSPU fan, I came across your fan site when looking for the Demo Ep. I read your notes on the Sunset Junction ‘03 demos. I have Little Lovers So Polite from that EP, I found the full download on some Russian website like 8-9 years ago. If you want the mp3 of little lovers from the Sunset Junction Demos let me know I would be happy to share with another huge SSPU fan.

Cue Cammy losing his shit.

AAAAAAAAAA

And sure enough, my new best friend got back to me just an hour ago.

Sorry it took me a while to response, I am sending the track exactly how it was on the file I got it from, It was titled as (hidden track) playing right after Lazy eye. Yes its alright with me if you add it to the site, Enjoy! 🙂

The early fabled “Little Lover’s So Polite” by Silversun Pickups

So how is this version of the track then? Well, it’s everything they said it would be like. From the beginning, I swear I hear fuzz bass (rare for the Pickups), no bridge (and thus no Nikki lead), big chunks of the song have no drums at all, and the lyrics are totally unfinished. Parts of it definitely resemble what it’d become, namely when the drums kick in around 2:40 and the solo that plays out the track, but in general, it’s a much different arrangement, spacier and more pleasant for it.

No, this wouldn’t have fit on Carnavas, but it’s lovely all on its own, like the clouds on the EP’s cover have left to reveal only blue skies. I’ll be throwing it up on YouTube and on the fansite tomorrow. It’s been on loop for an hour now. I could sleep to this.

(Now if only I could locate another copy of Songs From the Ship, this one with the disc actually inside. Maybe I’ll take another crack at emailing Aaron Espinoza, and maybe I’ll bug him about doing another Earlimart record someday while I’m at it…)


One Response to “So Much For the Lightshow”

  1. Todd Says:

    Thank you for this delightful surprise!

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